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Letters to the Editor

BY DI READERS | AUGUST 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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Inaction on minimum wage inexcusable

In the last legislative session, the Iowa House Republican leadership refused to debate a Senate bill that would have raised the minimum wage to a paltry $8.75 over two years’ time.

Now I’ve heard the business lobby’s arguments against it, and they play like a sorry tune on a worn-out violin. If your business model is based on paying poverty wages and engaging in wage theft (another issue House Republicans chose to ignore) to turn a profit, then maybe you should rethink why you’re in business.

In reality, a minimum-wage increase would serve business as well as workers. If the minimum wage were raised to $15, those affected wouldn’t stuff that money into hedge funds or tax shelters on offshore islands. They would spend it right here in our community; buying food for their children, fixing that old car, and maybe even saving a bit for a rainy day.

Our governor’s recent veto of the hard-won school-funding compromise is a harsh reminder that many good ideas currently have no chance of seeing the light of day at the State Capitol. But that should not stop us from continuing our fight for a higher minimum wage.

If state government will not even bring it up for debate, then we must take action in our communities.

— Patrick Wallace

Raising the minimum wage necessary

Over the last couple weeks there have been some very eloquent explanations about why we need to raise the minimum wage in Johnson County. As a black resident of Iowa City for 42 years, I’ve noticed an uneasy wave of change in our community over the last decade and a half or so. Statistics show that people of color across the country were disproportionately affected by the most recent recession.

Here in our Iowa communities, studies are confirming what many of us have observed: People of color experience forms of discrimination that result in disproportionate police contact, as well as discriminatory hiring practices that disproportionately funnel applicants of color into jobs paying low, poverty wages.

As has been stated in previous articles, this causes people to have to work numerous jobs and depend on social services just to scrape by. They have to choose between which bills to pay and how much food they will be able to put on the table today. When your everyday agenda is based on survival, it leaves no time for community participation.

So when the School Board makes decisions about discretionary busing, boundary changes or whether Martin Luther King’s birthday will be a school day, these voices are not heard. If you’re not making enough to afford transportation, live in North Liberty, and work second or third shift in Iowa City, your job is in jeopardy every day. If you need childcare, you can’t afford it, so you have to depend on the kindness of friends and relatives, or the unthinkable, leaving young children home alone. This is a perpetual cycle that needs to be broken. That’s why I applaud our local elected officials for standing up and doing the right thing by raising the minimum wage.

— Greg Hearns

IC needs better police

I’m not setting aside the racial problems with Iowa City police. However, the problems run much deeper. It appears our community police have merged into a paramilitary force. However, crime continues to be the same. Nothing solved.

The most complaints I hear refer to the use of intimidation and illegal or unwarranted searches by our city police. How can they do this? They have the support of our community leaders, most importantly our county attorney. The police feel they can do whatever they want because she has their backs. It’s time we hold our leaders accountable. We should demand better from our police. We deserve better from our police.

— Tim Nedoba


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